This post is to introduce preschool, Pre-k, kindergarten, and elementary-age children to the great Martin Luther King Jr. We will read a book, and learn hands-on (my favorite!).
Who Is Martin Luther King Jr.?
Martin Luther King Jr. is probably one of the most important historical figures to learn about with your children. I believe it opens a healthy discussion about equality and that we are all the same human inside.
Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist, one of the most prominent leaders in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. His adoption of nonviolent resistance to achieve equal rights for Black Americans earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. His contributions to the civil rights movement and to American democracy make him a worthy and important figure to learn about.
Martin Luther King Jr’s famous, “I Have a Dream” speech was partially improvised and the iconic phrase was left out of the original draft.
Martin Luther King Jr. was named after the Protestant reformer Martin Luther
King skipped two grades and entered college at the age of 15
King was arrested 29 times. His charges (many of which were dropped) ranged from civil disobedience to traffic violations.
King survived an assassination attempt a decade before his death
After his death, the King family filed a civil case against the government and won
2-5 year olds - "I am Brave: A Little Book about Martin Luther King, Jr."
5-7 year olds - "I am Martin Luther King Jr." by Brad Meltzer. It is written from the hero's point of you - as if he is the one telling the story. It is full of humor and memorable moments that help children relate and in turn, remember the history.
6-9 year olds - "The Story of Martin Luther King Jr.: A Biography Book for New Readers (The Story Of: A Biography Series for New Readers)"
8-12 year olds - "Only Light Can Do That: 60 Days of MLK." This one is actually a devotional for kids!
When I first introduced Martin Luther King Jr. to our homeschool curriculum, my girls were at the age where they started noticing that some friends look different. Skin color being one of the attributes. They were never off-put by it, nor felt the need to not be friends with someone due to their looks. Quite the opposite - it intrigued them. We do our best to teach our girls that being different is okay, it is to be celebrated. And it applies to them too! So we did a simple game with finger paint.
I put different color paints on each of the girls' palms (preferably the primary colors) and then had them shake each other's hand. When they pulled their hands apart, they saw beauty. They saw a new color that was made from two different colors (red + blue = purple, etc.)
Craft: "The Freedom Dove"
You will need two pieces of paper, some tape, and finger paint.
On one of the pieces of paper, cut out the shape of a dove. Tape that piece of paper onto the other one.
Assign a different paint color to each child. One at a time, they will place their paint fingerprints on the cutout dove shape. You can use a sponge brush too (like my I-will-not-get-my-hands-yucky-again child). If they get too close to the edge and smudge onto the top paper - no biggie! The cover page is there only to maintain the shape of the dove. Make sure there are enough fingerprints to cover the entire cutout. If you have too much empty background left, it won't look like a solid dove.
This project would be really fun to do with a class too! If you can find enough different color paints, it would be a cute way to show a group of kids that our differences make a perfect picture as a whole.
Frame it! :)
Enjoy! I would love to see your finished projects. Post below.